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The future of nature is under serious question - the opportunity to secure it still exists

WWF has published new research that shows people are increasingly concerned about the state of nature and that government actions are seen as ineffective

ZAGREB – More than ever, the world is faced with an accelerated loss of biodiversity and growing insecurity when it comes to food. Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15, which takes place from 7th to 19th December in Montreal, WWF is calling on world leaders to secure an ambitious global agreement that will enable a future for nature and for all of us.

 People are becoming more and more aware of this crisis. The latest study by WWF shows that the number of people concerned about the rapid loss of nature has risen to almost 60% – reflecting a 10% increase since 2018*. In addition, out of thousands surveyed, 81% of people believe that nature and climate change are the most important political issues.

"We are losing the wealth of flora and fauna at lightning speed. We have already seen an average decline of 69% in species populations since 1970, almost every hour we lose one species. We are an inseparable part of nature and any loss in nature is a loss for all of us. Although the future of the natural world is questionable, nature is resilient - and with a strong global agreement that triggers urgent action, we believe that it can recover," says Nataša Kalauz, executive director of WWF Adria.

WWF will press governments in Montreal to adopt a "Paris-style" agreement that could spur immediate action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world. That means having more nature at the end of the decade than we have now. To date, more than 90 world leaders have endorsed the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, pledging to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. From our region, missing among them are only the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia.

 "Nature hides the answers to many of the world's most urgent challenges. Failure at COP15 is not an option. This would expose us to increased risk of pandemics, exacerbate climate change by making it impossible to limit global warming to 1.5C, and halt economic growth. After many promises and commitments, it is time for world leaders to deliver results that will ensure the survival of nature, on which the survival of people also depends," says Kalauz.

Countries must agree on the goal of conserving at least 30% of land, freshwater and oceans by 2030. At the same time, the remaining 70% of the planet must be managed and restored sustainably – and this means urgently addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss. Global production and consumption rates are completely unsustainable and are causing serious damage to the natural systems that people rely on for their livelihoods and well-being. Key sectors, such as agriculture and food, fisheries, forestry and infrastructure must be transformed and thus contribute to the creation of a nature positive world.

Currently, the funding gap for biodiversity restoration is estimated at USD 700 billion per year. WWF calls on countries to significantly increase financing, including international public financing to developing countries as beneficiaries, and align public and private financial flows with nature-positive practices, including the elimination or repurposing of harmful subsidies and other incentives.

 "Leaders must give a mandate to their ministers and negotiators to turn existing commitments into ambition and to sign a clear blueprint for delivering the necessary financial resources. They must make it clear to everyone that the crisis of an existential nature can and must be solved at the same time as the current urgent socio-economic needs. After two consecutive decades in which we lost the battle with nature, because the global biodiversity goals (Aichi goals) were not met, we cannot afford another one - this would cause even greater human suffering, deepening inequality and a serious threat to life as we currently know it.“ concludes Kalauz.

WWF notes that a strong enforcement mechanism that requires countries to review progress against targets and scale up as necessary is an essential mechanism to ensure that the right actions are taken on the ground.
This proposition is highlighted by a WWF study, which found that 56% of people surveyed believe that government measures to protect biodiversity are not enough. The study, which surveyed more than 9,200 people across regions with staggering rates of biodiversity loss, found that people also found policy-related actions to be more influential than individual consumer actions.
 
Nature positive by 2030

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